If your children were asked to describe you, would they say that you are an angry and frustrated parent? Or would they describe you as a kind and gentle parent with a lot of patience? It pains me to think that my kids would refer to me as frustrated or angry, but it’s the truth. That’s why I’m working on ways to become a kinder and more patient parent.
As I study myself to see why I’m getting so flustered with my kids, I’m actually learning a lot. I’m learning that my anger is rooted in my own flaws and fear. Fear that I don’t want them to grow up displaying or developing my own character flaws, nor do I want them to “end up like someone I know”. I tend to get the most upset with kids when I feel that they are being aloof and/or careless. Not that I am either of those, but I struggle with ADD and I’m always losing things. My desire for my kids is for them to grow into focused and organized adults. So, when they say, “I lost ______.” or “I can’t find______.” It sets me off. Now that I know this, I’m working on it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Children (and teens) know what buttons to push and it’s developmentally appropriate for them to test the limits and see how far they can go before mom or dad reels them back in. Sometimes, getting angry is an ABSOLUTELY appropriate response to something. We just have to catch ourselves before we blow a gasket and then feel bad or remorseful afterwards.
The next time you utter the words, “Hurry up!” Think about what you’re saying. Yes, you may be late for work or school. Yes, they are moving at the speed of molasses. But whether they are tying their shoes or trying to zip up their jackets, let’s remember that each moment and each encounter with our child makes a lasting impression and no one is promised tomorrow. Also, do we want to pass our anxiety and “grown up frustrations” along to them? Whether we know it or not. It is contagious.
Well, if you truly need to work on this aspect of parenting, let’s work on them together and try these for starters:
- Feeling your patience being tested? Take deep breaths and think, “Patience in (as you inhale)….Love out (as you exhale).” Repeat as necessary.
- If mornings are the most frustrating. Try gradually getting everyone up a few minutes earlier to allow for those morning triggers that seem to cause frustration.
- Think of how patient and kind God is to you when you are disobedient, distracted, and don’t want to listen.
- Remember that saying things in the heat of the moment can be damaging to young minds, hearts and souls.
- Humble yourself. It’s okay to apologize if needed. It humanizes you as a parent and shows them compassion.
BMWK – Do you have any pointers on being a kinder and more patient parent?